Split lock washer specifications

Written by kathryn rateliff barr Google
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Split lock washer specifications
Split lock washers maintain tight and secure connections between a bolt and the nut. (nuts, screws, washers, screwdriver image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Split lock washers prevent nuts from becoming loose. Craftsmen use bolts, nuts and lock washers in a variety of situations. A nut may loosen when subjected to vibration. This can allow connected components to separate or move in undesirable ways and may result in catastrophic failure of the component. Split lock washers absorb vibration and maintain desired tension.

Inside and Outside Diameters

The inside diameter of the hole in a split lock washer describes the maximum dimension of the bolt or post the split lock washer will fit on. The outside diameter is the maximum width of the split lock washer. The outside diameter describes the largest nut size the split lock washer will secure. These two dimensions determine both the bolt and nut size limits of the split lock washer.

The edges of the split in a split lock washer cut into the nut and the secured surface, providing resistance to rotation caused by vibration. If the nut used on the bolt is too large, the split lock washer cannot overcome its rotational force (angular momentum) and the nut will eventually overcome the split lock washer and loosen.


Thickness describes the amount of material contained in a split lock washer. Split lock washer thickness also determines the minimum space between a nut and the material surface.

The split lock washer must never be tightened so securely that it is entirely compressed. The spring quality of the split lock washer's two edges absorbs vibration, keeping the desired tension between the nut and the secured surface. The outside edges of the split in a split lock washer bite into the nut and secured surface. Completely compressing the split lock washer removes its vibration absorbing ability. Maximum compression also puts the edges of the split out of position to engage the nut and secured surface.

Maximum Torque

Torque is the amount of pressure a nut places on a split lock washer. The two sides of the split deter the nut and secured surface from loosening in response to vibrations. Compressing the washer too tightly diminishes or defeats the ability of the connection to remain secure. The maximum torque of the washer is the amount of pressure that can be applied without diminishing the split lock washer's function.


Manufacturers form split lock washers from many different materials, including various metals and hard plastic. The material construction determines the amount of stress or pressure the washer can endure and still remain functional. Craftsmen choose the kind of washer material needed based on the function and needs of the construction.

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